|Publication number||US7912237 B2|
|Application number||US 11/402,328|
|Publication date||Mar 22, 2011|
|Filing date||Apr 11, 2006|
|Priority date||Apr 15, 2005|
|Also published as||DE102005017496B3, DE502006002786D1, EP1713303A2, EP1713303A3, EP1713303B1, US20060233406|
|Publication number||11402328, 402328, US 7912237 B2, US 7912237B2, US-B2-7912237, US7912237 B2, US7912237B2|
|Original Assignee||Siemens Audiologische Technik Gmbh|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (11), Referenced by (4), Classifications (9), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority to the German Application No. 10 2005 017 496.5, filed Apr. 15, 2005 which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
The present invention relates to a microphone device for a hearing device with at least two microphones, which are disposed in a straight line, to achieve a directional effect and a control device for controlling the microphones. The present invention also relates to a corresponding method for operating such a microphone device.
External directional microphones for hearing devices are known. These external directional microphones transmit signals with an improved signal to noise ratio wirelessly to the corresponding hearing devices. They generally have an on/off switch and a switch for adjusting the nature or strength of the directional effect. A hearing device with an external directional microphone is for example known from WO 2004/093487 A2.
A circuit arrangement for switching mobile devices, for example hearing aids, on and/or off automatically is known from DE 40 34 096 A1. This known arrangement has a movement detector that detects a change in orientation or inclination. This known orientation sensor supplies an alternating signal to a circuit. The alternating signal indicates that the hearing aid is moving, as a result of which its orientation is changing. The circuit only switches the power supply on when an alternating signal from the orientation sensor is present. The power supply is switched off again, when no alternating signal from the orientation sensor is present for a specific time period.
A personal location device is known from DE 696 05 773 T2, with which an angle is generally measured between the direction from which a source emits electromagnetic, infrared or ultrasonic radiation and the direction in which a person has oriented their head.
Use of such external directional microphones requires the user to adjust the currently required nature or strength of the directional effect by activating a switch. As this sometimes has to be done in very fast-changing hearing situations, the user is soon overwhelmed or irritated by the constant need to activate the switch. A typical situation, in which the user constantly has to switch between directional and omni-directional operation of the microphone, is for example a discussion, which alternates between a number of people speaking simultaneously and individual people speaking alone.
An object of the present invention is therefore to propose a microphone device, which is easier to operate. A corresponding method for operating such a microphone device will also be specified.
According to the invention this object is achieved by a microphone device for a hearing device with at least two microphones, which are disposed in a straight line, to achieve a directional effect and a control device for controlling the microphones, with the control device having an orientation sensor, which is connected permanently to the microphone in a mechanical manner and which emits an orientation signal as a function of the orientation of the straight line of microphones, such that control of the microphones can be influenced by the orientation signal.
According to the invention a method is also provided for operating a microphone device for hearing devices by aligning the microphone device such that it assumes a selected orientation and controlling the microphone device according to the selected orientation.
Operation of the claimed microphone therefore advantageously requires no switch activation in changing hearing situations. Automation detection of the orientation of the microphone device means instead that the user can utilize the intuitive alignment of the microphone device for switching and control processes.
As a directional microphone, the microphone device has a main pick-up direction. According to a preferred embodiment therefore the control device will switch off the microphones, when the main pick-up direction is oriented essentially vertically downward. This utilizes the fact that sound generally does not come from below.
The control device can also switch the microphones to directional operation, when the main pick-up direction is oriented in an essentially horizontal manner. This takes into account the fact that the majority of sound sources are typically in a horizontal plane around the user.
According to a further embodiment of the claimed microphone device, the control device can switch the microphones to omni-directional operation, when the main pick-up direction is oriented essentially vertically upward. It is thereby possible to benefit from the arrangement of the microphones vertically on top of each other for omni-directional operation.
The claimed microphone device is preferably implemented as an external component in respect of the hearing device. It can for example be configured in the form of a pen that operates very unobtrusively and can be oriented in any direction.
It is favorable for the microphone device to have a transmission interface for the wireless transmission of microphone signals to the hearing device. This means that the hearing device wearer is completely independent of the hearing device when orienting the microphone device.
The present invention is described in more detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
The exemplary embodiment described in more detail below represents a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
A claimed external microphone for a hearing device is configured in the form of a pen according to the example in
In the diagram in
The control switch of the directional microphone R is set up such that it switches off the directional microphone R in the position shown in
If the pen or directional microphone R is however held or carried in the breast pocket according to
In contrast to the exemplary embodiment shown, the directional microphone can also be switched to any other mode as a function of its orientation. It is for example possible therefore for the directional microphone to be switched to omni-directional operation in any vertical position (positive and negative z direction) and to directional operation when aligned horizontally. The automatic orientation switch can then be combined with a manual switch for switching the directional microphone on and off.
The strength of the directional effect can be modified continuously or quasi-continuously as a function of the inclination of the directional microphone in relation to a horizontal plane according to a further exemplary embodiment. The orientation sensor is then not only used to switch between two different operating modes but the functionality of the directional microphone also changes continuously with its orientation in space.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US5905464||Mar 5, 1996||May 18, 1999||Rockwell-Collins France||Personal direction-finding apparatus|
|US7450731 *||May 3, 2005||Nov 11, 2008||Siemens Audiologische Technik Gmbh||Hearing aid device and corresponding operating method|
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|US20030103091||Nov 30, 2001||Jun 5, 2003||Wong Yoon Kean||Orientation dependent functionality of an electronic device|
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|US20070064959 *||Nov 10, 2004||Mar 22, 2007||Arthur Boothroyd||Microphone system|
|DE4034096A1||Oct 26, 1990||Jan 9, 1992||Vielberth Inst Entw & Forsch||Automatic on=off switching circuitry for mobile appts. - has sensor(s) responsive to movement or change and charge and discharge capacitors responsive to sensor signals|
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|WO2001049070A1||Dec 22, 2000||Jul 5, 2001||Etymotic Research, Inc.||Hearing aid assembly having external directional microphone|
|WO2004093487A2||Apr 6, 2004||Oct 28, 2004||The Board Of Trustees Of The University Of Illinois||Systems and methods for interference suppression with directional sensing patterns|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8670584 *||Feb 14, 2012||Mar 11, 2014||Theodore F. Moran||Hearing device|
|US9036845||May 31, 2013||May 19, 2015||Gn Resound A/S||External input device for a hearing aid|
|US9066169 *||May 3, 2012||Jun 23, 2015||Etymotic Research, Inc.||System and method for enhancing speech intelligibility using companion microphones with position sensors|
|US20130208931 *||Feb 14, 2012||Aug 15, 2013||Theodore F. Moran||Hearing device|
|U.S. Classification||381/315, 381/313|
|Cooperative Classification||H04R25/405, H04R1/406, H04R25/554, H04R2201/403|
|European Classification||H04R1/40C, H04R25/55D|
|Apr 11, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SIEMENS AUDIOLOGISCHE TECHNIK GMBH, GERMANY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FISCHER, EGHART;REEL/FRAME:017755/0315
Effective date: 20060206
|Aug 20, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jul 10, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SIVANTOS GMBH, GERMANY
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:SIEMENS AUDIOLOGISCHE TECHNIK GMBH;REEL/FRAME:036090/0688
Effective date: 20150225